Women’s Hockey is excited to Showcase their Skill’s
All really, it’s only our second year too, so going to Pittsburgh will be very much like playing our first home game last season where everyone is excited to go out and see it for the first time and see what it’s like and really experience our brand of hockey. It’s definitely different compared to the men’s game, but in a positive way. It’s fast, it’s filled with a ton of skill, it’s physical and it’s professional-caliber. These women are the best of the best in their sport after all.
A lot of people who say they’re students of the game really enjoy the women’s game, Just because you can watch the plays develop, you can see how smart and strong these players really are – they actually have a ton of size – and you can get closer to the game than maybe going to a men’s game where you’re sitting in the nosebleeds.
If Pens fans think Phil Kessel is good at hockey, they should see his sister Amanda – who’s one of the best female players in the world. And they’ll get the chance this week, as she will be taking part in the National Women’s Hockey League’s 2017 All-Star Weekend on Feb. 11 and 12 at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex.
“I’m excited and honored to be part of this year’s NWHL All-Star Game,” Kessel said. “And it’s especially awesome to have it in the city where my brother has found a new home and success.
“I’ve been lucky to experience first-hand what a great hockey town Pittsburgh is. To be able to showcase the talented hockey players of the NWHL to the passionate fans of Pittsburgh is going to be a lot of fun and a great opportunity to expand our fan base.”
That’s the biggest reason the NWHL – in its second season – decided to bring the event here. They currently have four teams – the Boston Pride, Buffalo Beauts, Connecticut Whale and New York Riveters – and are constantly looking to grow the league’s reach outside of those markets.
“We pretty regularly will have different markets reach out to us asking when we’re going to have an expansion team there or when we’re maybe going to put the show on the road, so it got our wheels turning,” said NWHL commissioner Dani Rylan. “We started to look at some of those markets and Pittsburgh was high on the list. We definitely haven’t regretted the decision ever since the announcement.”
Two players who are particularly thrilled are Kelley Steadman – who will serve as a team captain alongside Kessel and is the director of hockey operations at RMU – and her Buffalo Beauts teammate Brianne McLaughlin, both area natives.
“They’ve been ranting about how awesome the city is for a while now,” Rylan smiled. “I obviously made both of them aware that we were going there, and their first reaction was just like ‘oh my gosh, all of the girls that are going to be at the game, they’re going to be so excited.’”
Hockey fans in the area should be just as thrilled, because it truly is an incredible opportunity for fans of the game to see these players, who are the best of the best on the women’s side. For so many years, pretty much the only chance people got to watch the women’s game came once every four years at the Olympics.
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